Five Ways to Raise Awareness About Animal Cruelty

Our fur babies mean everything to us. That one thing is certain. It’s no secret that people who value their pets change their lives for the better—but unfortunately, that’s not the case for everyone. The gut wrenching reality is, that nearly every 60 seconds, a helpless animal is being abused. No pet should ever have to endure improper care from hoarding, physical abuse, dog fights, or abandonment. This week’s blog post is dedicated to five ways of raising awareness to prevent animal cruelty:

Become an Advocate

One thing that we have that our furry friends don’t? A voice. We have the ability to speak up for pets who have fallen victim to animal cruelty, and it’s important that we use it! According to the Humane Society of the United States, every state has laws prohibiting animal cruelty—we have to help ensure that these laws are being enforced. The ASPCA offers advocacy training for pet lovers who wish to engage in grassroots lobbying. 

Educate Others

Unfortunately, some people are naïve to the fact that animal cruelty is an issue. Here’s the second way we use our voice—to educate. Familiarize yourself with organizations that are working to prevent and end animal cruelty like the Humane Society or the ASPCA, in turn, you can educate others on the goals and missions of these groups, and signs to look out for.  

Spay and Neuter Animals

How can you and your pets make an easy impact? By making sure your pets are spayed and neutered. We’ve all thought about how adorable our own pet’s babies would be, but in reality, there are entirely too many uncared for feral and stray animals who need our help right now. If you can welcome another pet into your home, consider adopting from a local shelter, where over crowding causes unnecessary euthanizing. 

Report It!

The third way you can use your voice: if you see something unusual, report it! If you notice that your neighbor has fled their home, leaving their animals behind and uncared for, speak up! As we mentioned before, our furry friends don’t have a voice, so it’s important that we speak for them, and stand up for them when they are in need. Familiarize yourself with your city, and pay attention to these signs which could indicate animal abuse.

Donate

Lucky for us, organizations like ASPCA and the Humane Society work tirelessly to stop animal cruelty in it’s tracks. Tax-deductible donations can be provided to these groups to help make a life-changing difference for animals across North America on a monthly or one-time basis.

We hope you join us and these incredible organizations in the fight to end animal cruelty. Questions? Comment below.

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Four Easy DIY Easter Crafts for Pets

Spring has sprung! Break out your colorful wardrobe and start stocking up on bunny and egg shaped everything because it’s Easter time! Who says we’re the only ones who can have fun during this holiday? Pets should be able to join the festivities, too! To all the Easter-lovin’ pet parents out there―this one’s for you. Here are four easy DIY Easter crafts that will keep you and your furry friends hopping with joy on this Easter holiday:

#1. Easter Basket via Dog Mom Days

If we love waking up to an Easter basket, can you imagine how happy your animals would be? This Easter, surprise your pet with their own personal easy DIY Easter basket! Grab a cute basket and tie a colorful ribbon around the edge. Once you have your basket set up, stuff it with plastic eggs filled with dog treats, your dog’s favorite toys, and some dental chews to keep your doggy’s hygiene in tip-top shape…and voila! Easter basket complete. Be sure to discard the plastic eggs once your pup has found the treats in order to protect your animal from ingesting the plastic.

#2. Easter Egg Hunt via Pretty Fluffy

Who doesn’t love Easter egg hunts? We sure do, and know your animals will, too! This one’s another simple, yet fun, activity that will keep your animals out and about this holiday. The following steps are what you’ll need for the ultimate doggy Easter egg hunt. First, gather all of your treats―don’t be afraid to mix and match: dog treats, pieces of chicken, peanut butter in a Kong, and yogurt treats are all great options. Next, keep your animals inside while you disperse the treats in the yard. Be sure to put some in their favorite digging spots! Once you are finished, let your dogs out and watch them search for all the goodies.

#3. Easter Egg Mice via Petcha

Don’t worry, we didn’t forget about all of the cat lovers out there! For this fun Easter craft, you’ll need the following materials: plastic Easter eggs (the ones with holes are ideal), various feathers, sand/beads/or bells, hot glue gun, and a drill with a 5/64 or 3/32 bit (if needed). Step one: if your eggs don’t already have holes, use your drill to create two small little holes on the larger part of the egg; be careful not to crack the plastic in the process. Step two: use your permanent marker to draw a mouse face on the “peak” end of the egg. Step three: take your feathers and thread them through the holes and hot glue the feathers down on the inside of the egg. Step four: fill the egg with the sand, beads, or bells, close the egg and let your cat play! If you’re worried about your cat opening the egg, either tape or hot glue the two halves together.

#4. Cream Cheese Easter Nest Dog Cookies via Dalmatian DIY

Easter is the perfect occasion to binge on yummy chocolates and candies. Let your animals participate with these unique goodies that are sure to leave your pets begging for more. For this recipe, you’ll need: ½ block of softened, reduced-fat cream cheese, ¼ cup of coconut flour, ½ cup of rice flour, water for consistency, and food coloring. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Next, combine the cream cheese and coconut flour, then add the rice flour in increments forming a dough. Separate a small amount of the dough (2 tbsp. per color). Once separated, tint the dough with food coloring to create colored eggs. Roll the plain dough into balls and place on a lined cookie sheet and flatten the middle, making a nest shape. Roll the remaining tinted dough into mini eggs and place into the middle of the nests. Bake for 15 minutes, let cool, and let them dig in!

These crafts are sure to leave your animals happy and excited this holiday. For more fun and simple Easter DIY crafts and recipes, visit here. Hoppy Easter everyone!

 

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A Tribute to Therapy Dogs

Our pets bring us infinite amounts of joy and are a special part of our families. Pet parents can all agree, coming home to a sweet, furry face is something to be cherished! Though pets are well-known for their loving nature, they also carry incredible intuition. Many people living with varying physical, mental, and emotional needs are paired with therapy dogs to help them with their day-to-day lives. This week’s blog post pays tribute to those pups.

What They Do

Therapy animals serve a variety of purposes and are proven to provide physical and mental health benefits to their owners. Traditional therapy dogs are bred, trained, and placed with an owner who lives with a mental or physical disability, while some therapy dogs work for an organization and serve as a volunteer. Extensive training prepares these animals to sense triggers and symptoms in their owners and respond to their needs.

Their Impact

These furry heroes can aid a wide variety of needs, but often, dogs are trained to service the specific needs of their owner. They have the ability to lower blood pressure, release calming endorphins, and improve cardiovascular health. Emotional benefits are vast, from lifting spirits to lessening depression; therapy animals’ presence brings emotional support, companionship and comfort.

At Work

Therapy support animals can serve individually in homes, but also in our communities. They volunteer in schools, hospitals, and nursing homes. Some organizations work with therapy animals as a resource to those affected by anxiety or depression from a life-altering event. Therapy dogs are trained to sense onset signs of anxiety or panic attacks and comfort through licking, and getting close to their owner.

Interested in learning more? Organizations like Pet Partners or Therapy Dogs International are great resources! We’d like to take the opportunity to offer a special shout-out to the pups who spend their day-to-day making their owners’ lives brighter, and full of love. Thank you for your service, therapy pups.

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5 Home Remedies for Pet Allergies

Allergy season is upon us, and you know what that means—sneezing, irritated skin, and puffy eyes are back. Just as you aim to kick your allergies to the curb this spring, don’t forget that your pets can also suffer from seasonal allergies. Although dealing with allergies can be a pain, treating the symptoms can be a little easier with common household items. Here are five home remedies to help keep your animals protected and alleviate your pet’s allergies this season.

#1. Oatmeal

No one likes dealing with skin irritation and itching, especially your pet. If you notice consistent itching or scratching, particularly after they return inside, they may be suffering from seasonal allergies. One way to help relieve the itching is with oatmeal. Just as oatmeal does wonders for our skin, it’s also is a nontoxic remedy for our pets. Combine baby oatmeal (or grind up regular oatmeal) and add it to some warm water to create a paste. Once that paste is made, apply it directly to the itchy areas of your cat or dog’s skin for relief.

#2. Vitamin E and Omega-3 Fatty Acids

When it comes to pet allergies, dry skin is a biggie. Help alleviate their dry skin by massaging vitamin E oil onto the affected areas—not only will it get rid of the dry skin, but a massage from mom? Yes, please! If you want to go the extra step, add some omega-3 fatty acids to your animal’s diet in order to help improve their overall skin and decrease any inflammation.

#3. Epsom Salt Bath

Some cats and dogs are prone to having frequent wounds or swelling, and allergies can make these wounds worse. Epsom salt baths are their friend (and yours!) when it comes to healing wounds and reducing swelling. Run a warm bath with Epsom salt and let your animals wound soak for five minutes. If your pup or cat isn’t one for bath time, no worries, just soak a cloth in the combined Epsom salt + warm water and apply to the infected area. Be sure to avoid letting your pets ingest the Epsom salt, as it could be harmful.

#4. Wipe Your Animals Down

This one is pretty straight forward, yet it’s easy to slip one’s mind when it comes to thinking of ways to eliminate your pet’s allergies. Wiping your animals down with a damp, warm cloth around their paws, mouths, and coats helps reduce the amount of pollen that could be trapped on your animal’s body causing irritation.

#5. Yogurt

Allergies can sometimes bring unwanted tummy issues for your pets. Thankfully, yogurt can act as a delicious treat that produces happy benefits for your animal’s stomach and intestines. That being said, opt for small doses of plain yogurt to avoid unwanted yeast infections.

Let’s be honest, no one likes to see their animals in pain. As this season springs into full effect, remember that dogs and cats alike can pick up seasonal allergies. Be sure to keep an eye out for these common symptoms; and as always, if their allergies worsen, visit your local vet for further advice. For more home remedies for your pet’s allergies, visit here.

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Pet Palace Sponsors the FIDO Project

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Today is an extra special day for four St. Paddy’s pups graduating from the FIDO Project in Ocala, Florida. Precise retailer, Pet Palace, is a sponsor of the endeavor and works to help encourage adoptions within the community and promote the importance of pet training.

The Florida Inmates and Dog Obedience Project (FIDO), is a program that partners Marion County Animal Services with select inmates from the Marion County Correctional Institution Work Camp to give inmates the opportunity to spend 10 weeks training homeless shelter dogs in basic obedience and socialization skills. The goal of the FIDO Project is to teach the inmates important life skills and to allow them to learn responsibility. Inmates must first study a guide on how to properly train the dogs. Following suit, they have the opportunity to shadow an officer; the officer is responsible for the training and the treatment of the animals. Each day, the inmates will keep a journal on how the practice sessions go with the dogs.

At the close of the program, the dogs go through the American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen training test. Among passing the test at a score of 95%, the pups receive a certificate are able to be adopted out into their forever homes!

During each class, the public is invited to meet with the dogs at outings—normally local businesses or other venues. At this time, adoption applications can be submitted. Marion County Animal Services is responsible for choosing the dogs for this program, as well as coordinating the outings, trainings, and promotions to help get these pups adopted.

Today, Pet Palace is celebrating four FIDO graduates: Penny, Guinness, Clover, and Blarney who have all been adopted! At today’s graduation ceremony, each inmate involved in the program will say a few words on their experience training the dogs, and what this project means to them. Check out the Marion County Animal Services Facebook page for an  announcement on the next trainees!

For more information for about how to get involved, volunteer, donate or adopt visit: www.marioncountyfl.org. Congratulations to Penny, Guinness, Clover, and Blarney!

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Three Tips on Finding a Pet Sitter

Happy Professional Pet Sitters Week! We want to celebrate all of the wonderful caretakers in our fur babies’ lives and help our friends who don’t have a pet sitter to find the right fit for their family!

Unfortunately, we can’t always take our four-legged friends on the road with us, so it’s up to you to decide who to call to watch your fur baby while you’re away. If a family member or friend is not available, and a kennel is out of the question, you’re going to have to enlist a pet sitter you may have never met before. Not to worry, this intimidating process becomes easier with these three tips to help you find the very best temporary caretaker for your pet:

#1. Interview potential candidates

It is important to trust the person you are planning to let in your home to spend one-on-one time with your pet. Ask friends and family if they know of any trustworthy candidates to start your search. If the list comes up short, check out reliable websites like Care.com which features profiles of caretakers, highlighting the pet sitter’s experience, location, age, hourly rate, and service ratings. Once you gather all the information that you need about these contenders, pick a top three to interview either by phone or in person. When you meet, ask them about their experience with animals, and highlight your pet’s unique needs and habits that the caretaker will need to know. If you feel the need, be sure to ask for references from the sitter so you can learn more about their reputation as a caretaker.

#2. Make sure they are reliable 

We want our caretakers to be trustworthy, but also to be someone we can rely on to show up and love on our pets while we are away. Let’s be honest, our fur babies rule the roost of our households, but they still need to know what they can and cannot get away with. Make sure the new sitter knows your house rules and routines so they can maintain the same schedule for your pet.

#3. Introduce your pet

The most important factor we don’t have any say in is your pet’s opinion! Introduce your pet to the caretaker, and to see how your pet interacts with them. Their first meeting should not be when you plan to leave the caretaker with your pet, as your pet may not be comfortable around this sitter. At the end of the day, your pet is going to be spending time with this person and if they don’t respond well, it may not work. Allow some time for your pet to warm up to their new friend. Be sure to let them play and see if your pet approves of your choice.

In celebration of Professional Pet Sitters Week, let’s take some time to show our fur babies’ caretakers some love (don’t worry, your pet is still your number one fan). Have you recently conquered the hunt for the perfect pet sitter? Share your tips for finding a reliable caretaker below.

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Four Signs that Your Pet May Have the Flu

Flu season is among us, and in some areas, it’s even becoming an epidemic. Though you may feel a bit relieved after receiving your flu shot this year, it’s important to note that we two-legged folks aren’t the only ones susceptible to the respiratory illness—our furry friends are as well. Not to worry, catching these signs early can save your pooch or feline from feeling under the weather for an extended period of time.

Look out for these four signs in your pet’s behavior that could indicate influenza:

#1. Coughing

Like in humans, when pets get the flu, they develop a cough. This cough can cause your pet’s throat to become sore. Be sure to keep plenty of fresh, clean water available for your pet if their dry cough is giving them trouble.

#2. Sneezing

Unfortunately for our furry ones, tissues aren’t exactly a pet’s best friend. When your pet sneezes, their germs from their illness spread to surrounding areas. If you notice your pet sneezing, be sure to separate them from other animals in the home, as the flu is highly contagious.

#3. Lack of Appetite

Is your pet not taking advantage of meal time like they usually do? That’s not a good sign. While your pet’s palate may change over time, neglecting to eat could mean that they are not feeling their best.

#4. Restlessness

When you are sick, it’s safe to say that you don’t feel like doing much of anything. The same goes for our pets. If you notice your spunky pooch or kitty is a little more lethargic than usual, monitor their behavior. If it extends over a long period of time, contact your vet.

Knowing your furry friend isn’t feeling their best is a tough burden to carry. If you notice any of the above signs in your pet’s behavior, be sure to consult your veterinarian as soon as you can, as the flu can turn into pneumonia if ignored. Your pet will likely be treated with antibiotics to prevent the illness from becoming any worse. When there is illness like the flu in humans or pets – close contact should be avoided and practicing good sanitary habits, like washing your hands with soap and warm water, is always a good idea. A healthy, nutritional diet and hydration are also essential in fighting off the flu.

There are also many natural remedies you can use to stop the illness in it’s tracks. For more information, click here.

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Three Homemade Treats for Your Furry Friend

Our pets are more than just pets; they’re family. Their main priority is to keep us happy, and we’re pretty alike in that mindset—all we want is to keep them happy, too. Show your pet some love by rolling up your sleeves, and preparing them a nice homemade treat from the heart. We’ve scoured the internet for three of the tastiest, Precise approved, pet treat recipes we could find. Let’s get cooking!

#1. Tasty Tuna Crackers via ASPCA® Pet Health Insurance

Does your cat enjoy Precise Naturals® Simmered Seafare? If so, they’ll love this simple fishy cracker treat. Look in your pantry for a 6 oz. can of tuna. Grab one cup of cornmeal, one cup of flour, and 1/3 cup of water. Mix all of the ingredients together. Once everything is completely mixed, roll into 1/4-inch pieces on a greased baking sheet. Bake the Tasty Tuna Crackers for 20 minutes at 350° Fahrenheit. Try and keep your kitty at bay until the treats have cooled completely, and then, let them dig in!

#2. Yogurt Peanut Butter Banana Dog Treats via Cooking with Janica

So, we’re not going to lie…these treats look good enough for humans to eat. If your pup is a fan of peanut butter, you will surely have their tail wagging over this yummy treat. This recipe calls for one large banana, 32 oz. of plain yogurt, one tablespoon of honey (optional) and three tablespoons of peanut butter. Slice up the banana and throw it, along with your other ingredients, into a food processor or mixer. Blend everything together. Once your ingredients are nice and mixed, pour the contents in a silicone mold; Janica recommends these cute paw prints. Freeze for at least two ours. Then, enjoy!

#3. Chicken Pot Pie Biscuits via Doggy Dessert Chef

These unique biscuits are tasty treats for your dog and cat alike! Head to the kitchen and preheat your oven to 350° Fahrenheit. For this recipe, you will need: 1/2 cup of cooked and shredded chicken, 1/2 cup of cooked and mashed peas, 1/4 cup of shredded carrots, 1/2 cup of chicken broth, and 1 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour. Combine all of the ingredients and mix well. Roll the dough on a floured surface and make 1/4-inch shapes on an ungreased baking sheet. Poke the biscuits with a fork to prevent air bubbles. Cook for 15-20 minutes. Cool the cookies, and chow down!

We’re sure that your feline and canine friends will appreciate the extra effort you put into their special treat! You may even have some of these ingredients lying around your kitchen. If that’s the case, “bone” appétit!

Have you contrived your own furry-approved snack? Share your recipe with us in the comments below!

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Three Tips for Training Your Pet Using Positive Reinforcement

Whether your pet is a newborn puppy, an old timer, or a hyperactive fluffy tornado, a little obedience training goes a long way with pet behavior. Teaching your pup basic commands is a wonderful opportunity to not only bond with your pet, but also to train them to behave. Though teaching your pet commands is no walk in the park, pet obedience allows more opportunities for adventure in public places (yes, like the park) to socialize with other animals and people. How do you get there? The Precise team has the answer: a little positive reinforcement.

#1. Give them some love!

When you were a kid and accomplished something, a huge hug always let you know that you had done well. The same goes for our furry friends. When your pup masters a command, be sure to show them some love, and give them a great big petting.

#2. Use an uplifting tone

As you’re petting your pup, be sure to praise them! Use an uplifting, cheery tone to assure them that they have accomplished their task! On the flipside, if your pet is becoming frustrated, and is having trouble understanding your commands, continue to use an encouraging tone. Try not to become frustrated and exude that in your voice. This will discourage your pet, and eventually stop them from performing the command.

#3. Grab the Healthy Habits Treats

Reward you pet each time they follow through with a command correctly with a treat. This continuous reinforcement will communicate to your pet that they have accomplished the command. Once your pet becomes a master at the command, you may begin to add on a second step (sit…stay; down…roll). Over time, be sure to reduce the number of times you reward your pet with a treat, but always continue to praise them with an uplifting tone and a pet for when they have accomplished the command.

Be sure to start with the basics. Keep in mind that these commands are new territory for your pet, and it may take some time for certain commands to stick. Positive reinforcement is the correct way to encourage your pet to follow through with obedience training. Be patient and continue to practice; they will learn to master these commands before you know it!

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Five Reasons Why Our Pets Need to Maintain Good Oral Hygiene

If we brush our teeth daily, why don’t our pets do the same? This is what we’ve been pondering in honor Pet Dental Health Month. Yes, we know, the idea of adding another task into our busy schedules sounds daunting, but as good pet parents, it is our responsibility to make sure our pet’s oral hygiene is up-to-par. Our pets rely on us for all of their basic needs, so we can’t forget about their pearly whites! Here are five reasons why we should make our pet’s teeth a priority:

#1. Their oral hygiene is just as important as ours!
For all the same reasons oral hygiene is important for humans, it is equally important for our animals. Regular dental checks and brushing can keep your pet healthier and prevent small dental problems from becoming bigger issues down the road.

#2. Healthy teeth = better breath
Regular brushing reduces the effects of bad breath. Think about it, animals use their mouths to clean themselves and to discover their surroundings…which can get a bit messy. As much as we love their kisses, we don’t want to catch a whiff of what they may have found in the trash!

#3. Reduces the risk of gum disease and keeps teeth strong and healthy
Animals can suffer from plaque buildup too, which can cause periodontal gum disease. Now, your pets may not like having their teeth brushed, so there are other options for reducing plaque and keeping their teeth healthy. Dental chews, PlaqueOff, and regular appointments with your veterinarian are all great ways to keep your pet’s teeth in check!

#4. Regular oral care can save you money
Regular brushing and dental appointments with your veterinarian can help to prevent serious dental issues, which as we all know can get expensive fast. These small investments in your pet’s well-being can save you from pricy, more serious visits down the road.

#5. Tooth aches can be painful
Our pets can’t speak to tell us when they’re hurting. Practicing regular oral care and dental checks with your pet reduces the risks of developing serious dental problems. By adding oral care into your pet’s daily routine, you can prevent them from losing teeth, or having dental problems go undetected.

So, in honor of Pet Dental Health Month, grab a tooth brush and get scrubbing! Your local pet store may have a toothpaste that your pet may like a little better than ours. Or, for easy fresh breath, throw your pup a Healthy Habits Treat, made with peppermint!

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